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Meet artist and sculptor Sadie Clayton

Mum-to-be Sadie shares all on body confidence, exercise in pregnancy and preparing for motherhood

Author Sadie Clayton
Categories   Wellbeing

The Edit

The Edit caught up with artist, coppersmith and mum-to-be, Sadie Clayton on all things pregnancy, from exercising and sticking to a fitness routine through each trimester, to how pregnancy has inspired her future projects.

Congratulations on your pregnancy! How’ve you found the journey so far?

Thank you so much! I’ve absolutely loved it, although it has flown by so fast! I can’t believe I’m going to meet the baby in a few weeks’ time. I didn’t find out until I was 6 weeks pregnant, therefore I was robbed of my first trimester! Then you have the worry of making sure everything is fine and hiding the fact that you are pregnant. We went on our honeymoon to Africa in trimester two, where I got acute food poisoning which sent me into a bit of a panic mode, and now here we are trimester three! It’s gone so fast. 

We went on a babymoon where the concept of being parents actually kicked in, which was gorgeous but eye opening! I’ve found the whole journey empowering, miraculous, exciting, I think if I’d had any of the common pregnancy symptoms though, such as sickness, aches and pains I might have answered this slightly differently. Although, I am sat here writing this with heartburn brewing! That has been my only symptom. I’ve loved dressing the bump (except trying to find cute maternity bras) and creating the colourful baby nursery. So many people have enjoyed and encouraged the journey too, which is so lovely to receive. 

What's been your favourite trimester?

It took quite a long time for my bump to ‘pop’, therefore I felt like people were constantly commenting saying, “Oh you’re so small, there’s nothing there!” So, I’ve really loved the end of my second trimester and now third trimester, where it’s obvious that I’m pregnant but most importantly, the little bubba is moving so much. I love the fact that I’m connected to them all day, every day and that I can protect them, talk to them and create a sense of belonging for them. 

I had my baby shower and loved planning my outfit and theme for it. The whole journey has just been special and because we aren’t finding out the gender until the special day, I’ve loved speculating! Right now, I think it’s a boy but last week I was adamant it’s a girl. 

As someone who loves to workout, how important was it to maintain a fitness regime during pregnancy?*

I loved working out six days a week, so maintaining a fitness regime during pregnancy was incredibly important to me. Pregnancy is a transformative journey, both physically and emotionally, and I believe that staying active played a vital role in supporting my overall well-being during this time.

Staying active during pregnancy helped me to maintain a positive mindset and emotional balance. Exercise has always been my outlet for stress relief and mental clarity, and I found that it was even more crucial during pregnancy. The release of endorphins through exercise helped to boost my mood and energy levels, reducing feelings of being overwhelmed that can sometimes accompany pregnancy.

Additionally, maintaining a fitness regime allowed me to stay connected to my body and feel empowered throughout the pregnancy journey. Pregnancy can sometimes feel like a loss of control over one's body, but exercise provided me with a sense of confidence in my body's capabilities. It allowed me to feel strong, capable, and in tune with the changes happening within me.

Of course, it's essential to approach exercise during pregnancy with caution and to listen to your body's cues. I made modifications as needed and prioritized activities that were low-impact and gentle on my changing body. I’ve been to a few pregnancy yoga sessions, but I must say, they’re not massively for me! 

Overall, maintaining a fitness regime during pregnancy was not just about physical health; it was about nurturing my body, mind, and spirit as I prepared for the journey of motherhood. It helped me to feel strong, confident, and resilient, laying the foundation for a healthy pregnancy and a smooth transition into motherhood.

How has your regime changed during the different stages?*

During the early stages of pregnancy, I had no idea that I was growing a human! I was still squatting 100kg and hip thrusting 130kg! Therefore, I found that I was able to maintain a relatively similar level of activity to what I was accustomed to before becoming pregnant. However, as my pregnancy progressed and my belly grew bigger and heavier, I noticed a gradual slowing down of my fitness regime.

In the second trimester, I began to experience changes in my energy levels and physical comfort, which influenced the types and intensity of exercises I could comfortably engage in. I found that high-impact activities such as running or intense cardio became more challenging, as the added weight of my growing belly put strain on my joints and ligaments. As a result, I started to incorporate more low-impact exercises such as walking and prenatal yoga, which helped to support my body while still providing a good workout.

By the third trimester, my fitness regime had slowed down even further as my body prepared for childbirth. The weight of my belly made certain movements and exercises uncomfortable or impractical, and I found myself needing to take more frequent breaks and listen to my body's cues more attentively. I focused on exercises that helped to maintain my strength and flexibility, such as gentle stretching, weight training just for my upper and continuing to walk.

Overall, my fitness regime during pregnancy underwent a significant transformation as my body changed and adapted to accommodate the growing baby. While I may not have been able to maintain the same level of intensity or frequency as before, I remained committed to staying active and prioritizing my physical and emotional well-being throughout each stage of pregnancy. Adjusting my workouts to align with my changing body allowed me to stay connected to my fitness journey while also honouring the unique needs of pregnancy.

We’re all about body confidence on The Edit – do you feel there’s too much pressure on women to “bounce back” after pregnancy?

I do believe there is often an undue amount of pressure on women to ‘bounce back’ after pregnancy. This pressure can come from various sources, including societal expectations, media portrayals of postpartum celebrities, and even well-intentioned comments from friends and family.

The notion of ‘bouncing back’ implies that women should quickly return to their pre-pregnancy bodies, as if childbirth and the physical changes that accompany it are something to be swiftly erased or minimized. This can create unrealistic expectations and place unnecessary strain on new mothers, both physically and emotionally.

Every woman's postpartum journey is unique, and there is no one-size-fits-all timeline for returning to pre-pregnancy fitness levels or body shape. Pregnancy and childbirth are profound experiences that can have long-lasting effects on a woman's body, and it's essential to recognize and honour the physical and emotional changes that occur during this time.

Instead of focusing on bouncing back, we should celebrate the incredible strength and resilience of women's bodies as they navigate the journey of pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum recovery. We should prioritize supporting new mothers in feeling confident, empowered, and comfortable in their bodies, regardless of whether they meet arbitrary standards of bouncing back.

By shifting the narrative away from unrealistic expectations and towards acceptance, self-care and body positivity, we can create a more supportive and inclusive environment for women during the postpartum period. This involves promoting messages of self-love, self-care, and embracing the changes that come with motherhood, rather than pressuring women to conform to external standards of beauty or fitness.

What are you looking forward to most about becoming a parent?
Being able to see the world through a different lens. Looking up and showing my child things that they’ve never seen before. Introducing them to living a colourful life, adventure, and curiosity through travel. Most importantly, watching and encouraging them to be their most individual self. I can’t wait to see what they look like, sound like and how they move. I can’t believe there is going to be a mini me on this planet! Will they be creative? Or will they rebel and hate colour and art? Will they have an afro? 

Any pregnancy essentials you can’t live without? 

Momanda Maternity Bras 
Naydaya Skin Balm
Cowshed Mother Stretch Mark Balm 

Finally, you’re a celebrated artist and sculptor. Has your pregnancy inspired any future projects? 

I have thought about creating a small series of copper sculptures that embody the idea of creating life. I spoke with my art agent about it but in all honesty, I’ve not really had the motivation to get making in the studio. I think I’ve poured my creativity into making the nursery, the baby wardrobe and dressing bump! I’ve been shortlisted for the Royal Academy summer exhibition this year, so I’d love to be part of that again and take baby to see mama’s artwork in such a prestigious exhibition. I also envision the baby in my studio in a bouncer, bouncing to my music whilst I bend and manipulate copper into sculptures! Let’s see, only time will tell but I’m excited for this journey, path, and new world of juggling baby and my career. 

*Disclaimer: Always consult a doctor or health professional before exercising whilst pregnant.

Author Sadie Clayton

With a Jamaican-born grandmother, artist Sadie Clayton grew up in West Yorkshire navigating life trying to fit into two different cultures – but growing up, she was encouraged to step out and express her individuality. Sadie has carved out a distinctive career as a coppersmith, creating sculptures featured in the V&A Museum and Tate Britain and regularly appearing on our screens on Sky Arts and Channel 4.


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